THE VATSAGULMA BRANCH
THE VATSAGULMA BRANCH
...THE existence of this branch was unknown till the discovery of the Bāsim plates in 1939.
Several members of it were indeed mentioned in the inscription in Cave XVI
at Ajaṇṭā, but owing to a sad mutilation of the record, their names were misread.
These names have since been restored and it has been conclusively shown that the princes who
ruled the country to the south of the Indhyādri range belonged to a different branch of the
...The founder of this branch was Sarvasena mentioned in both the Basim plates and
the Ajaṇṭā inscription as a son Pravarasena I. He was presumably one of his younger
sons. The country under his rule seems to have stretched south of the Indhyādri range up
to the bank of the Godāvarī. In the establishment of his authority over this territory he
appears to have received considerable help from his minister Ravi, the son of the Brāhmaṇa
Sōma from a Kshatriya wife.1 Ravi’s descendants became the hereditary ministers of the
Vākāṭaka kings of Vatsagulma and served them faithfully for several generations.
...Sarvasēna selected Vatsagulma, modern Bāsim in the Akōlā District of Vidarbha,
for his capital. This was an ancient city. The country round it called Vātsagulmaka is
mentioned in the Kāmasūtra of Vātsyāyana. Vatsagulma was regarded as a holy tīrtha and according to a local Māhātmya it was so called because the sage Vatsa, by his austerities,
made an assemblage of gods come down and settle in the vicinity of his hermitage.2 In
the Vākāṭaka age it became a great centre of learning and culture, and gave its name
Vachchhōmī to the best poetic style.3
From the Bāsim plates we learn that Sarvasēna continued the title Dharmamahārāja which his father Pravarasēna I had assumed in accordance with the custom in South
India. The description that the Ajaṇṭā inscription gives of him is conventional. Sarvasēna
is, however, known as the author of the Prakrit kāvya Harivijaya, which has been eulogised
by Sanskrit poets and rhetoricians.4 He also composed many Prakrit gāthās, some of which
have been included in the well-known Prakrit anthology Gāthāsaptaśatī. He may be
referred to the period 330-335 A.C.
Sarvasēna was followed by Vindhyasēna, called Vindhyaśakti (II) in the Bāsim
plates. He pursued a more vigorous policy and defeated the lord of Kuntala, who was his
southern neighbour. As stated before, a Rāshṭrakūṭa family rose into prominence just about
this time. Mānāṅka, its founder, made considerable conquests and annexed the territory
to the south of the Gōdāvarī,5 which previously ruled by one of the sons Pravarasena I.
1 No. 26, line 7.
2 The Jayamaṅgalā, a commentary on Vātsyāyana’s Kāmasūtra, gives another derivation
place-name. According to it, Vatsa and Gulma were two princes of Dakshiṇāpatha. The country
settled by them came to be known as Vātsagulmaka. The Bṛihatkathā also mentions Vatsa and
who were sons of a Brāhmaṇa and maternal uncles of Guṇāḍhya, but it state that they founded
a city named Vatsagulma. See Bṛihatkathāmañjarī, 1, 3, 4, and Kathāsaritsāgara, I, 6, 9.
3 Vatsagulma retained its importance as a centre of learning and culture for a long time;
for Rājaśēkhara describes it as the pleasure resort of the god of love, where the mythical Kāvyapurusha
Sāhityavidyā. It was probably the native place of Rājaśēkhara. C.I.I., Vol. IV, pp. clxxiv f.
4 See. below, Chapter X.
5 See my article ‘The Rāshṭrakūṭas of Mānapura’ in A.B.O.R.I., Vol. XXV, pp. 36 f. ; S.I., Vol. I,
pp. 178 f.